Grateful Dead Live at Deer Creek Music Center on 1995-07-02
via B. Ball; fixed 12/8; defective version etreed 12/6 (fixed md5s
Subject: It's All Too Much....
First observation, Jerry is more "present' and playing better than any of the shows I saw in 1995 [Highgate, both Jersey shows, and both RFK shows]. I know, not really saying a ton... but vocally, he was putting forth some solid effort.... sounded less 1995 than most of the tour..... And his playing, while far from stellar, was at least audible. And in step with the rest of the band. Which is stunning consider the quick pace on some of the tunes. Put another way, he was walking alongside the rest of the band instead of the trying to pull him along lest he fall way behind.
Second observation..... only one verse of Fire on the Mountain. but a nice long jam that transitioned very well into Victim or the Crime..... again, not searing Jerry jamming, but not the sloppy stuff we'd been hearing most of the summer.
Third observation.... It's All Too Much was a good tune for the boys.... not a fan of Vince's voice, but it worked on this one. And much like Rain, this is a tune that is more about psychedelia than soaring guitar work. So a good tune for them to keep the beat going without exposing Jerry's playing for what it was - - tired!!
Fourth observation.... Given what I saw in Highgate, the gate crashing at Deer Creek did not come as a surprise when I read about it the next day. What was a surprise was the death threat. I had already concluded they needed a long break so Jerry could get his shit together. But between the death threat and the crowd's having gone to Hell, I thought they should do another hiatus... Take 18 months off and think about how to take the circus on the road with all the fun but less of the stupidity.
Fifth observation.... If I could turn back the clock, I would have gone to more shows in 1995. Why? Well not for the music.... but to hang out with the folks I'd been going to shows with since I was 15.... People who shaped my life as much as, if not more than, my own family ... But as a 36 year old lawyer, that just wasn't possible. There were court dates and clients to worry about.... a mortgage to pay.... young children to be a dad to..... just as drugs and smoking and other unhealthy life style choices were sucking the life out of Jerry, responsibility was sucking my soul from me. So rough as some of those 1995 shows were, I still wish I had more memories with folks I love to this day.....
Final observation..... I'm older now... 59 to be precise.... Part of what I like to think of as the 2nd generation of Dead fans..... not the folks that got turned on in the 1960's, and not the folks that hopped on board when Touch of Grey hit, but the ones in between... And with age has come some wisdom. Not a lot, but a little..... And as I've attended Dead and Company shows I realize things have come full circle.... Once again, going to the shows for both the music and to be with friends.... and once again, the crowds are filled with a sense of community [felt that at the Fare Thee Well shows but figured it was because only older folk could afford the tickers LOL!!!]..... and most importantly, the music was once again the draw. Is is the same? Of course not..... but once again it's a band where what they play doesn't matter as much as how they play it..... and they are playing well....
Well look at this.... I digressed!! Shocking LOL!!! Anyway, glad I took the time to listen to this one. Not a show for the ages, but a solid show that doesn't have me wondering if Jerry is on stage... And a show that considering the back story, is pretty damn good. Don't know about you, but I would have cancelled after the death threat. Then to go out and play with a bulls eye on your chest???? Thanks Jerry!! You gave the best you had to give. How much we sadly know!!!
Subject: random thoughts from that time
Recollections from 07-02-1995, The Deer Creek Riot
Wow....reading this history is interesting, so much for reviews,really just stories. Personally I was inspired by Tears and Laughter's observation, and I quote,”I think it's great because after all it's history of a lost world and unique tribe of people still telling their infinitely interesting stories.” Inspired me that after all these years I still have something to say about it. (One time I was in class rolling along with my 15 minute answer to a simple question, when the professor in an attempt to derail me, rolled her eyes, looked up at the ceiling, and stated, “...and yes... of course Bill has a story....” I didn’t miss a beat in reminding the woman that civilization, as we know it, started with telling a story....or singing a song...) Tears and Laughter also alludes to that famous T.S. Eliot quote, “ This is the way that the world ends, not with a bang, but with a whimper.” Sorta rearranges it to suit (His? Her's?...with a name like Tears and Laughter...I don't even know,) needs, which is OK....But anyway the Grateful Dead as a rolling expression of life, as seen through music,and art,ended both as a bang, at deer creek, and as a whimper a month later with the passing of Jerry Garcia.
And I for one am not clear as to what all the bitching, finger-pointing, and name-calling is about as both were in a relative, and also an absolute sense, bound to happen;
It all rolls into one, and nothing comes for free.
There's nothing you can hold for very long.
To many of us that had been on the bus a while,(I got on in 1973...stopped counting shows some-time in the early 1980's at over 100,) it was not so much as to how the Deadhead’s were going to have a major confrontation with The War on Drugs crowd, or how Jerry, or really anyone of us in a huge extended family, was going to manage to kill themselves with drugs, but when. Being on that bus was a head-first, eyes wide open, plunge into the deep end of experience, A white-knuckled, high speed, thrill-ride brushing up against and pushing the edge of sanity. A 100 mile an hour race to find, and grab that golden ring, the one where time stands still, and the music never stops:
Strangers stopping strangers, just to shake their hand,
Everybody is playing in the heart of gold band.
A serious inquisition into why normal would ever be consider normal, or would ever in any way be desired. That the clash with the cops would occur at Deer Creek, as several other writers have alluded to, was a safe bet. Having grown up in the area I can assure you that the locals took their War on Drugs very seriously, and saw the Deadhead’s as mocking them, and their values, in plain sight. By chance, and some business, I got to know the man behind building Deer Creek in the mid 1980's, not some fat cat by any means, but a local concert promoter who had a vision of a place, small enough to be intimate,but large enough to attract big acts. An outdoor venue, outside city limits, where people could camp and make a day of it. The Deer Creek site was not his first choice, but was instead what the local governments considered safe, next to I-69, so that cops could move in quickly if need be. Sometimes known as an ambush.
When Brent Mydland passed in 1990 things both on, and off, the stage had been heating up to the point that I for one had a sense of doom that something major was going to happen that would make his passing pale in comparison, if that was possible. Brent's energy had become such a major part of what the Dead was all about between 1985 and his passing. The way that his vocals blended with Jerry. The way that he perfectly filled in the spaces between Jerry’s guitar with his keyboards. Sometimes now listening to the tapes of those shows, to me, it sounds like everything that he did was to make Jerry shine, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till....You get the point, it seems that they had a bond, deeper I'm sure than their shared additions. His song writing has been derided by some Deadheads as being too commercial but to others it was soulful, honest, and heartbreaking. It should have been a clue as to how much mental anguish he was in. I for one was totally taken by surprise by just how unsure of himself, and how lost, he was. I'm sure I was not alone. The band itself knew, but as always, the way that they were loath to interfere with any one personal space, prevented them for reaching out. If that would have made a difference, which I doubt, but I'm sure that they were not taken by surprise.
At that point in time the Deadheads and therefore by extension the band itself were becoming a prime time news example as to just how pointless and futile the War on Drugs was. History suggests that the last thing a government wants to be seen as is pointless. Likewise the police, as the arm of the government are trained to be anything but ineffective. Personally I believed that with every show, along with the associated news coverage, that death threats against the band would soon appear, (if they hadn't already.) I thought that the time had come for the band, and the heads, to regroup and take a chill, let things cool down. Instead, without hesitation, the band garbed Bruce, and Vince out of no where. Like....apparently their was an endless number of keyboard players that were not scared to sit in that seat...not if it meant that they could play with the boys.
The band, once again, reached heights that were unbelievable. The whole city on wheels hit the road again. Day after day. Night after night. Making the next town, just in time to set the tent, sell, buy, exchange....food, beer, tickets, tapes, shirts, and drugs,drugs and more drugs. But no matter what...JUST CATCH THE NEXT SHOW!!!
Sure don't know what I'm going for....
but I'm going to go for it,for sure...for sure..
The parking lot was totally anarchy city, and I don't mean a little civil-disobedience, but a full-scale declaration of independence from any law of god,or man,that in any way stifled full scale debauchery. As Phil Lesh states in his book Searching for the Sound;
You'll be forgiven for concluding from much of the foregoing that the acid tests were a
celebration of barely controlled anarchy. Not so. It was in fact totally uncontrolled anarchy,
ordered only by those same mysterious laws that govern the evolution of weather patterns,
or the turbulence in a rising column of smoke.
Can't really think of any way that it has been stated better. And what were places like Alpine Valley, Red Rocks, or Buckeye Lake other than a acid test with 1000 times more people, spread out over an area a 1000 time larger? I recall one time at Alpine Valley,( GOD I LOVED ALPINE VALLEY,) I don't know....maybe 1985...Where some heads had built a HUGE bonfire on a sand trap way out on the golf course. All by itself a fairly outrageous move, but that was just the beginning. To add to the general insanity a group of extremely fucked up heads were throwing full one-gallon gas cans into the infernal making naturally.... HUGE explosions!!! Meanwhile other heads were sitting around the fire, doing sitting- around-the-fire-kind-of-things...drinking,singing,dancing....as if having bombs go off next to them, with a deafening sound, flames and shrapnel shooting in every direction, putting their lives in danger was...well...common. As long as nobody pulls out a left-handed monkey wrench, well then everything's under control.
And then there were the ponds at Alpine Valley, small and shallow drainage type things.... perfect for nude bathing. One summer, maybe 1988, it was really hot and dry, so naturally getting into some water was just the thing. So here is this pond, can't be more that an acre or two in size, and it looks like there is about 500, all the way from fully clothed to totally naked Deadheads in there cooling off. I'm checking it out, and there's this cop standing guard next to his car,checking it out, looking as mellow as a cop gets. I thought, “What the hell, I'll see if he has an opinion on this insanity.” So I walk on over and ask,” Got any idea how many of them are in there?” He looks me over, seemingly to me to be happy to no longer be a stranger in a strange land, puts on a great big smile and says, “Well now that depends on who your talking too.....officially there's 30,000 here in the parking lot, but the county sheriffs department estimates there's 140,000 here....either way I guess there's as many in that pond as can or want to be.” I reply “ You don't say!” And I've got another new-found dead-tour-friend, a cop that is within a hundred feet of only-god-knows how many laws being openly broken and yet realizes that there is not a damn thing that he can....or should do about it, other than what I'm doing; just enjoy it. He's probably not as high as I am....then again how could he not be? Suspecting that he should say something about why he's here, after all it fairly obvious why I'm here, not so much for him, he says, ”I'm the lifeguard....of sorts...At first they wanted me to clear that pond. I gave them a great big NO,on that one...no way...So now I'm just suppose to make sure no one drowns....Not that I would know if someone was in trouble in the middle of that mess...or know what in the hell to do about it.” I reassured him, “ If anybody get themselves in trouble in there the rest of them will help them out....they'll take care of each other.” To which the cop stated, “Yea...so I figured...so I'm just going to take in the show.” Another soul, this time a cop,went to a Dead show, and more-than-likely was never the same again.
Or I'll never forget, this time Chicago 1978, the Uptown Theater, on the sidewalk waiting to get in. It's early spring, cool enough to wear a light jacket,long pants or dresses, but nothing too heavy. And so there we are a few hundred making a spectacle, in downtown Chicago, at midday on a weekday. And there's this woman that keeps catching my eye...and I just can't seem to figure out why. And it's not just me either, the whole gang that I'm with is trying to figure it out, and then it hits us all at once; Shes got her long black hair up in a giant nest-like bun, and in that nest sits, almost completely still, a miniature black and red hen...Yes she has a chicken on her head. It's so still that the only way to tell it's real,and I mean really alive is that it blinks it's eye,then ever so slightly you can discern it's chest rising and falling as it breaths, and in slow-motion it pivots it's head to observe the crowd. Now maybe, for sure, this is not breaking any of the laws of man, but the laws of nature? As people poke and elbow each other, pointing out the chicken, the woman herself has a giant smile on her face....And why not....It had to take a lot, a lot of what I don't know, to pull this one off and she should be proud of herself, I think? As for the chicken, I came to three possible conclusions; 1.The woman is a world-class animal trainer, and this her masterpiece. 2. The chicken is chicken, scared stiff, too terrified to make a move. 3. The chicken is as high as the rest of us, tripping it's little bird brains out, and looking forward to the show. No one, at least none of my gang anyway asked the woman how or why. Art speaks for itself, interpretation is to the beholder, we just gave her the credit that such a piece of sidewalk theater deserved.
Fortunately for the heads, so far, the cops had not similarly got themselves worked up. Things at Alpine valley for instances had for years, been boiling over on almost a nightly basis, and yet the cops kept their cool. The gate-crashes at deer creek were not A-holes, or C-suckers, or any of the other obscene names that have been thrown at them, They were; young, drunk, and stupid....stupid enough to not be able to figure out that these cops were not the cool cops they had gotten used to....these cops....well they were planning on doing more than barking, they were planning on biting.
I've read the account of the young drunk that started the whole thing, the kid that in an attempt to jump the fence got mauled, first by the police dogs and then after he was cuffed got beaten by the cops, after he shoved a cop out of the golf cart that he was being carried away in, (Oops!!!) I read the account in some obscure underground web site Cannabis Culture Forums,Dated 08-03-2009 (there's a link on Internet Archives) The guy posts under the name Stagger Lee...Not quite sure why one would want to be known as Stagger Lee, not if one had listened all the way through the song but...anyway I of course have no idea if it was really him that stared the whole thing, but his story sounds like what other eye witness saw, so I'll take it as real. What I took from him telling it was that, to him,jumping the fence was as much a high-stakes game, like capture-the-flag, as it was any real desire to get into the show. All games, like wars, can boil down to simple attrition. In that light Stagger Lees team won the game; for every one person that got bit, beaten, and 5 months in jail, a 1000 others got a free show. For every 3 people that are cussing him, 1 should be thanking him.
I myself had tickets to the 2 Deer Creek shows and the 2 at Soldier Field, and I ended up giving them all away, spending the whole time in the parking lot. Would that I could give my right nut, go back in time,and see those shows? No that's never how I've lived my life, not then and not now, fears and regrets are useless and fuck up peoples energies, avoid them for they are worse than germs. Do I not regret it more because, well... after all as EVERYBODY by then knew Jerry's air was all gone, and he had one foot in the grave. If you never got it would impossible to understand, but if you did you know, like me, that Jerry half dead is a better show than the 99 other bullshit “Greatest guitarist,” put together. Like me you would know Jerry noodling a note or two if you were in a coma and he was all the way dead.
Anyway my wife got the tickets for the whole group. Don't ask me how but she did it, I think that's how bad she needed them, she had to have them, and some how she always did. Myself at that point in my life, what I really needed to do was to get as high as one could get, while still breathing, at every possible opportunity. I had 10 days off work; my plan weed, wine, and LSD, the classic combo.
Drink all day, Rock all night......
The show was on Sunday and I started on Friday night. Sunday dawned to a cold front that brought with it the most fantastic weather one could imagine, much less in Indiana in July. All of our group was camped out at a friends house that was with in walking distance of Deer Creek, really it was close enough that one could hear Deer Creek from the side yard. By midday I was passed out on the lawn, soaking up the sun, the party and all the drugs and alcohol, bootleg tapes filled the air, along with the cheers and other banter floating past from the car and foot traffic on the road in the distance. Life could not have been better. I came to some where around 2:00Pm and my friends were loading up the van for the short drive to the parking lot,( Even though we were close we took the van for supplies.) My wife was discussing whether to wake me or leave me there in the grass,( A drunkard's dream if I ever saw one.) I jumped up, popped the top on another one, and hopped into the van. My wife looked me over with her best babysitting look and said, “Fine. But your staying in the van. I'm going to give your ticket to some one that's not going to just sleep through it.” Cold one in one hand, in my other I had just been handed a cigar-sized joint, I was a pig in shit and happy to just float along. As we entered the parking lot, the dose I had dropped as we left the house was beginning to make my mind make sense of it all in spite of all the beer and wine that I had been drinking for 2 day straight.
And one of the first things I made sense of was the insane amount of cops and dogs, and not of the office friendly type, but some seriously nasty looking bastards. I made a note to my brain; No matter how fucked up you get steer clear of these guys! As my group, (mainly the womenfolk,) made their way down to Shakedown and some shopping. The rest of us,( mainly the menfolk,) stayed at the van exchanging joints, beer, balloons and wine with the heads drifting past. And once again it hit me with music in the air, the wonderful weather, the bond that I had with those people there, and the clear fact that within a few hours the band would take to the stage; The feeling that life could not get better, and it surrounded us, held us tight, and we felt loved, and protected. I thanked god that I had some how stumbled onto this scene some 22 years earlier.
Around 5:00 Pm the group made their way to the show. And me? Left there all alone at the van, what to do now? Well naturally what one does when they have been drinking for 2 days straight; I headed on down to Minglewood.
Couple more shots of whiskey.... and I'm headed on down to Minglewood.
And then I was no longer alone; In fact it appeared to me that there was ten times as many people in the parking lot milling around, partying it up, as was going to the show. Those that had at any point been looking for tickets had by now given up, as much I gathered from the endless stories of how many of the miracle tickets were in fact fake, as to the hour growing late. But most looked as if they never had any serious plans to get into the show. That statement is of course a little misleading. The Grateful Dead shows had always, like any other huge gathering of people, brought out its share of schemers,opportunist, and down-right thieves,along with undercover cops, and the individuals that just wanted to get fucked-up. A group that could care less about the band, and would do anything, or take advantage of anyone that was unsuspecting. But that group was in a relative sense a very small number. ( Like any other play on statistical numbers, their numbers had increased over the years, but that was only because they were a percentage of the total, not because there really were more as an average.) As other writers have mentioned many were there, at Deer Creek because they were on the road and it was between point A, Three Rivers, and point B, St Louis, or Chicago. That, as some have suggested, the riot was the bands fault for playing at the smallest venue on the tour during the holiday week is just plain silly. Just as silly as it was for the band to suggest, in the letter that they put out the next day, that if you don't have tickets, or are coming to vend, stay home. At that point in the history of the band you might as well have asked the sun to refrain from setting. So while many at that point were no longer looking for a way into the concert, from what I could see, the reason for the happening was still the music. It was still all about the Grateful Dead.
Coming to shows without tickets, and vending at shows had by then become a way of life, for many. In many ways a sideshow to the show. The parking lot in and of itself was not the problem and never had been. There were of course issues in and about the parking lot; Traffic, always a major issue at out of the way places such as Alpine Valley and Deer Creek. Sanitation, a city without sewers, showers, bathrooms and almost all cooking done outside. Vending, let the buyer beware. And of course open drug and alcohol use, with all its implications. But ACTUAL crime and violence...almost unheard of. Totally a non factor when viewed in light of 1. The sheer number of people involved. 2. How stoned those people were. And 3. Circumstantial evidence suggested that most of the violence that did occur was directly provoked by the cops. In the final analysis if one views, as the Buddhist do, that good and bad are in truth two sides of the same coin, that in this life, in this plane, one experiences them likewise in equal measure, (They are in biblical terms, to be a little more Western in thought, part and parcel of the curse,the whole paradise lost thing.) Seen in that light, the amount of joy, good feelings,spiritual insight, and downright serenity that the Dead, and the Deadheads, brought to every place that they went by far out measured the small amount of inconvenience, crime, violence and the occasional riot that came with it all.
In the letter that was issued the next day by the band there was a great deal that was basic lawyer speak. It might be that the letter was written by the band, I sorta doubt it, but it might have been,after 30 years of being on the road I'm sure that they knew what had to be said or done. If you read Phil's book, “Searching for the Sound,” he makes it clear that in the beginning the way the band approached rioting crowds was they just gave them a free show, and that apparently worked, after a fashion He then goes on to makes it clear that because of decisions like that the band was always; broke, stressed out, and continually on the road, with no rest, trying to make ends meet. Surly musicians of their quality should not be expected to pay for free. A bigger venue? Would not have made any difference. By that time the dead sold out everything that they did. They could have a show at an out-of- the-way place such as Highgate Vermont and 100,000 showed up,( and it became a free show.) But back to the letter. In it the band claimed that the 2nd night at Deer Creek was the 1st time in 30 years that the band had,had to cancel a show,because of the fans. It is in fact a statement that is misleading and untrue, At Altamont the dead had refused to take the stage after they learned that Marty Balin of the Jefferson airplane had been beaten by the Hell's Angles. In the aftermath of Altamont the Hell's Angles took the heat in the press, and in popular opinion, for using too much force. But in court the Angles were acquitted on grounds of self-defense, and it became clear that many of the musicians at Altamont would have been harmed, possibly even fatally, had it not been for the little security that the angles did provide. In any case the Angles had not used any more force than the cops would have used had they been there instead of the Angles. Certainly part of the decision to cancel the second show was the lack of security. After Indiana's finest was unable to secure Deer Creek on the first night, they stated that they would not be back. They would manage traffic outside of the venue, but not crowd control inside the venue. The cops coped out! I for one am not sure if legally this is a stand that they could take, but if it was a bluff, it worked. The band, and the owners of Deer Creek, could have went ahead with the second show..... without a fence no doubt. And without a security force, not that they were going to secure anything anyway. In the end the real reasons that the band canceled the second night was because their hearts were no longer in it. When the fence came down, drunk, high, stoned or otherwise the show stopped being about the music, and became about chaos, anarchy or not. Like at Altamont, refusing to take the stage was the right decision.
So many roads I tell you, New York to San Francisco
So many roads I know, All I want is one to take me home.
Next the letter states,”We're all supposed to be about higher consciousness, not drunken stupidity.” This statement, while in essence true: We are, all of us, at every moment,”Supposed to be about higher consciousness.” But to say the Grateful Dead were never about, “Drunken stupidity,” is also misleading. If the Dead had never been about mindless silliness than the pranksters and the pleasure crew would have not have been such a integral part of their formation. If they had never been about drunkenness then Pigpen, and Janis, (Ron McKernan and Janis Joplin,the king and queen of sloppy drunks,) would not have call the Dead family home. To say that the dead were never about destructive and violent behavior, regardless of the source of that behavior being; Drunkenness, stupidity, being drugged out of your mind or just being an asshole by nature, now that would have been a correct statement. I know I'm splitting hairs but it's not just semantic that are at stake here, for the letter to have been taken seriously, it should have been clear that it had been indeed written by the band. And not a bunch of lawyers, or cops. I for one was never convinced that the letter was really written by the band. And alas the band did not exist long enough after the letter was written for us to ever know if whoever wrote it really meant it.
There are really only two statements in the letter, as it stood, that were pertinent; the first completely factual and the second completely essential. Fully understanding these two points was what was, at that point, critical to the survival of the scene, those being;
Over the past thirty years we've come up with the fewest possible rules to make
the difficult act of bringing tons of people together work well.
No doubt, can't argue with that one one bit. Nothing was ever asked of anyone, not an allegiance to any system; political, social, cultural,or casual. A belief in any religion, philosophy, or theory. Membership in any group or class, any sort of heritage, racial or ethnic. No fashion police, no political correctness. No litmus test, no age limit. No membership sponsor or dues. It was even OK, in spite of popular urban legend, if one wanted to remain totally sober. In fact we got a whole group, The Wharf Rats, their mission just that; to make sure that if someone wanted to experience the dead completely free of mind altering substances, then they by-golly your welcome too. No nothing, nothing at all, was ever asked of anyone that wanted to come along;
Come hear uncle John's band, by the river side.
Got some things to talk about, here beside the rising tide
Come hear uncle John's band, playing to the tide
Come with me or go alone, he's come to take his children home.
The only requirement there ever was to be a Deadhead was that you enjoy the music, and that you respect the one rule, the one and only one there ever was, that being no matter what....that you keep your cool. Plain, simple and too the point. And in case one was to forget what it is to keep one's cool,( sometimes an easy thing to forget when one is loading up on mind-altering substances,) there is point number two.
It's up to you as Deadheads to educate these people, and to pressure them into
acting like Deadheads instead of maniacs.
There you have it, all you need to know. The original rule to collective anything. Collective living, traveling, hunting, gathering....you get it ….anything done as a group. If you want to be part of the group, be part of the group mind. If your doing your thing and two or more of your fellows thinks it's uncool....well.... then more than likely it is. It's even possible for a bunch of you to be cool enough that it spreads to those not normally cool...such as those wearing a badge and gun. And now if the cops are being cool,( A situation, as I've previously stated, which was not uncommon for a long time at many a show,) and they think that your not being cool...well then....your probably not. Furthermore if the cops are being uncool, like they defiantly were being at Deer Creek, then the one, and only, rule make's it clear that provoking them is not the way to go. Uncool provoking totally uncool leads to a night in jail, or the hospital. If the cops are being uncool, the proper response is to be extra cool....and maybe some of it will rub off. In short;
If you get confused, listen to the music play.
It bears repeating, its....”If you get confused, listen to the music play.” Not “If you get confused, kick down the mother fucking fence.” Come to think of it maybe instead of the letter they should have just passed around the lyrics to Uncle Johns band or Franklin's Tower. Too esoteric? Seriously? I think all of us understand the meaning to;
If you plant ice, you're gonna harvest wind.
At Deer Creek the gate-crashes certainly planted ice, and all of us Deadheads harvested more than wind, most of us saw a glimpse of the end.
Well OK...After further review I'll give the letter writers,( whoever they are,) one other point; It is probably difficult to play music with plywood flying around.
But anyway back to my story. So what's the next thing a person does when they've been drinking for 2 days and they've gone on down to Minglewood? I made my way back to the van for that nap that my wife had predicted. Please don't ask me at this point to recall what time that was. It was the height of summer, sunset being well after 9:00PM, and thought the sun was sinking and it was growing cool, it more-than-likely was not much past 8:00PM. As I arrived at the van and opened up one last one, ( Or so I thought at the time,) the band opened up with Here Comes Sunshine, fairly rare in concert and a sweet song well worth the wait, it sounded damn good. For just a moment I wished that I had hung onto my ticket and made the show, I pondered.... thirty years....Jerry really looked bad at times....How much longer could it last? But I was comfortable there in the van, and the sound even at that distance, ( we were parked way out there, on purpose, for a hasty retreat,) was really good.
There has to be some kinda law of physics,math or maybe theology, but some kinda universal law, along the lines of the laws of possibilities, and probabilities, that suggests that if an event is just about certain to happen, with just a slight rearrangement of the variables, it's just as likely to never happen: That there are universal enzymes and solvents, with or without which time speeds up or alternatively ceases to exist at all. My point being; that if it was just about inevitable that a riot with the cops would end up happening at Deer Creek, is it not just as likely, if one of those factors that made it almost inevitable ceased to exist, then that riot would happen some other place, or possibly not happen at all. I'm not trying to change my story, contradict myself, or needlessly drag this story out....bear with me. As I, and other writers have stated there were some very basic ingredients for a riot to occur, that all came together at Deer creek, and it happened. On the other hand, as other writers have also stated, there were three really, REALLY GOOD, reasons for the riot to have waited for another time and place, those being; 1.As I've just stated, the sound at Deer Creek in the parking lot was always pretty damn good,(certainly better than it was in the Hamilton county lock-up.) so why all the fuss to get in,just unfold the lawn chair and enjoy, plenty of us were doing just that right then with no regrets over tickets 2. Deer Creek was, ( and I guess still is...don't know I've never been back again,) a really cool place. Underneath all the bullshit that comes with a huge gathering of people, and the tension with the cops and such, Deer Creek was small,intimate and truly special. One other writer has suggested that the band really enjoined playing at Deer Creek. I don't know how someone would know that but I can see it. Phil in his book mentions a number of times that in the really big venues, the band felt very much detached from the deadheads, and he felt that,that detachment had contributed to some of the anti-social chaos that was becoming more and more prevalent at shows. And 3. Quite simply the weather that night was too wonderful, too wonderful for Indiana in the summer, and certainly too wonderful to fuck it all up by starting a riot, and spending the night in the hospital or jail.
I return to Stagger lees statement, and my first impression of that statement, that his attempt to crash the fence was as much a game with the cops as any real desire to get into the show. At that point in the evening, as the sun was setting, the parking lot was a cool place to be; the weather was perfect, one could plainly hear the band off in the distance. And the party hit a mellow grove, but in no way was it over. I fully expected the party in the parking lot after the show, in spite of the cool weather,to be outrageous. There was no earthly reason what-so-ever to incite the cops and their dogs, not on that night, not in that place. I fell asleep to the sound of the band playing It's All Over Now, the Rolling Stone classic.
Mere minutes later, or so it seemed, I was violently awoken. I instantly became aware of five sensations almost simultaneously; A awful, painful, burning smell, a huge,crushing, palpable wave of negativity,blinding lights flashing everywhere bright as if was high noon,the sickening sound of a helicopter in the air, and finally through it all...all the noise,smoke, blinding lights, and mass confusion you could clearly hear the strains of Fire on the Mountain. No shit....through it all....the music played on....
If you get confused, listen to the music play
I threw some water on my face, quickly brushed the crud out of my eyes with a towel, and gingerly stepped out of the van onto tera firma to get a glimpse of what I figured was the end of the world. I envisioned the band playing on....as the earth sank beneath the waves. And yet... it was all still here. I was awake and not dreaming, and while the world had not come to an end,it did appear that something like world war 3 had started while I was sleeping. I started to walk towards the light, the venue, and all the commotion, remembering the promise I had made to my brain earlier that day. I stopped just short of the glare of the lights,in a small crowd, still in the shadows. Close enough to see what was going on, but hopefully far away enough to be safe. Someone to my right handed me a bottle, as someone to my left handed me a joint, and I started to get some idea of what was going on except for the one piece of information that seemed to me at the time to be the most important; Was anyone dead?
The answer to which I would have to wait till Monday afternoon to find out. The rest of it was pretty straight-forward. The god-awful burning smell was tear-gas. There was without a doubt the most cops; Cops, dogs, cop cars, etc, that I had ever seen, in one place, in my life. Every light in the world was on, no kidding,if someone in a blue uniform could get to the switch, it was shining. There was at least one, and I do believe it was three, helicopters over-head, also with every light on. And still the band played on. Whatever had happened that inspired the cops to toss out the tear-gas and call in the helicopters hadn’t happened around the stage, cause I could hear them all there. There's Jerry...check, Bobby... check. Phil....check. Vince.... check. And well it sounded like 2 drums...So everyone in the band was alive. As I fumbled for the words, in my drunken state, to ask the question, someone in the crowd sensing my lack of comprehension spoke up. “They tore down the motherfucking fence!” “What....? “ I stated in disbelief. So he continued,” the cops started beating this one dumb fucker, so a bunch of them rushed them, and tore down the fence. The cops were completely fucked up and had to run.” By now pretty much everyone there was laughing, apparently most of them had seen it. Nothing it seems boost the morale of the troops, and seals the bonds of comradeship, as much as overwhelming the enemy and witnessing them in full retreat. It was a short lived victory.
About this time I realized that the hill leading to the fence, the man made hill that created the amphitheater, now looked like the DMZ. Where there had been a few thousand people laying on the ground, blankets and picnic baskets at hand, there was nothing now but a few cops with dogs and a couple on horseback. At the top of the hill, what had looked like a giant pile of paper cups, to me at this distance, was in fact I could now tell, what was left of the fence. The one helicopter that I could see was directly over where the fence had been, shining it's light at first at where I believed the stage was at, and then out towards the parking lot, alternating between the two the message was clear; STAY OUT OF THE DMZ!
A line had clearly been drawn where we were standing, here at the edge of the paring lot, at the edge of the shadow. Stay on this side of the line and you were cool, cross it and you were going to jail, or the hospital. The fellow heads in the group I was now part of continued the story. The initial shock of being rushed by a few thousand heads had caused the cops to retreat. In the chaos that in sued not only had the fence been shredded, and the show became in essences a free show, (several in the crowd had, they said, gone in and come back out figuring at that point that they could just come and go as they pleased,) but I was told that several police cars had been rolled over and set on fire. I never saw any evidence of any burnt cars, but the air was certainly full of foul smelling smoke, and so circumstantially I believed that it had happened. I have never to this day figured out if the burning cop cars did in fact happen, but I do know that the cops were that pissed off that night. As any common criminal could tell you the last thing that you want to do to a cop is fuck-up their car, they really take that personally. And while its a little overblown to call tearing down a fence, even if its done by a thousand blind-drunk youths a riot, turning over cop cars and setting them on fire is a riot in any ones book. I had no doubt, then or now, that it had happened, that's how tense things had become between the Deadheads and the cops. Any way the free show did not last for long, a few thousand had gone in and stayed, but the cops quickly regrouped and established the no-mans-land. This was of course facilitated by the arrival of the helicopter,(helicopters? Once again I never saw more than one, but I was told by many that there were three.) If it boosts the moral of the troops to see the enemy in full retreat, it's really inspiring when one sees that their side owns the sky.
And that's the way that things had stood for about an hour I was told. I hung out for about a half-hour or so and then headed back towards the van. I didn't make it far. The parking lot by now was fully energized, not it seemed because of all the cop activity, but because the show would soon be over. So I took my time once again digging the scene as much as I had earlier in the day. Few in the parking lot that I spoke with had any concern or much interest in the “Riot.” Most appeared to know that for a brief period the fence had been breached, and a free concert existed. But they were content where they were at, and realized that when the cops regained control they would not be pleasant. “Leave all that fighting with the cops to those that are young, drunk, and stupid. They’ll learn you can't win. Meanwhile I'll stay right here where it's safe!” was the sediment expressed by most. It was about this time that I learned that the press was also out in big numbers to get the scoop. I saw a roaming film crew, the whole thing in fact had already made the TV as “Breaking News,” and was already being called a riot. About this time the show did end with Quinn the Eskimo as the encore, but not before they played New Speedway Boogie, ( A song that was inspired by Altamont.) The band did end up playing a full two sets, with very few delays, which was in retrospect both admirable, and speaks to the professionalism of the band members.
At some point I met up with my group there in the parking lot. They also seemed unconcerned about the riot. It had been pretty “dry,”inside the venue, what with the pat-down on the way in, and they mainly appeared interested in finding more drugs, to make up for lost time. We all, and by all I mean everyone that had two brain cells left, knew there would be some kind of retribution for the whole mess. No one that I spoke with that night believed it would end with the next night being canceled. The show must go on! It hadn't stopped for Pigpen, Keith, Brent, a death threat,or ANYTHING else, so why would it stop now? The cops would get over it. They would just start with the helicopter as plan A, instead of plan B. Everyone knew, deep down, that the only event that was going to put an end to the touring life of the Grateful Dead would be the death of Jerry, (or Bobby, or Phil....but come on....everybody knew it would be Jerry.) We had all come to the point of being tight-rope walkers; events not for the faint-of-heart had become a daily occurrence, meanwhile we all knew that when the end came it would, no doubt, be sudden and traumatic. A tore down fence, an unplanned free concert, a death threat, and some really pissed off cops were, all things considered, becoming commonplace....and the band played on. We fully expected for the show to go on....Just with even more cops....like to enter where the show was at was like entering a concentration camp. My group made it's way back to the van and I passed out in the back as my wife, at the wheel, made the 2 hour drive to go less than one mile, to the house where we were staying. I came to many times to hear and see crowds of drunk and high heads wandering about along with cops, cops and more cops. Flashing lights, sirens and the helicopters.
The bottle now stands as empty, as once it was full.
Time that was a plenty, but from that cup no more.
When I came to the next afternoon I instantly felt a profound silence....the music had both quite figuratively and literally stopped. Silence hung in the air deeper than a silent prayer. My head was pounding pretty good....not too bad, all things considered....But still good enough to ponder, as the long line of alcoholics that has gone before I have; Why did I do this to myself? But oh well! Can't change that now. So I set about answering the second question upon awakening that alcoholics have had since time immemorial; Where am I? Well....I was in a tent....and it was my tent....so that's good! I looked around me...my wife’s stuff was here...she wasn’t, but her stuff was....so she knew where I was at....that was good! I peeked out of the door, and it all came back; Side yard at Tom's house, Dead at Deer Creek, 4th of July weekend. But wow!...Why was it sooooooooooooo quite? I took a deep breath, summoned my courage and stepped out of the tent; Bright sunlight, cool breeze, certainly past noon; there should be a giant party in full swing, right here! Right now! As I stood there looking about there were a few people here and there going about the business, it appeared, of packing up to leave. What the hell I thought to myself, this don’t look like no party. I started to contemplate the possibility that I had been passed out for two days, the second show was over, and it was now the 4th of July. Tuesday in other words. It had happened before....except for the last time that it had happened, when I awoke I was not safe inside of my own tent, with my wife's stuff there, like a security blanket. No the last time I had got so fucked-up that I had passed out for an entire day, when I awoke I was on a pile of rocks in the middle of a field, the merciless noon sun slow-roasting me, wrapped from head to toe with poison ivy and barbed wire,cut, bleeding and covered with sweat, more than half dead from heat stroke, alcohol poison, and dehydration, with a hangover like there was a pistol range at full tilt inside of my head. No this was nothing like that time...right now I felt worlds better than that time. The Tuesday theory didn’t hold water. Besides even if it was all over, and people were going home, that was still no reason for the silence, and the long faces. That was it, that's what was so weird, why did everyone look like they were packing up, not to go home, but to go to a funeral? Why was everyone so sad? Standing there, attempting to get a grip, I was starting to recover my memory from the night before, ( of course from a physiological standpoint the only way that one can drink as much as I had the past three days and still be able to have any recall at all.... much less almost total recall is by doing equal amounts of LSD with that alcohol, a well known fact to experienced Deadheads,) in the periphery I began to hear a faint sound. What was it? And like that it all came back. The sound? It was that Goddamn helicopter.
All of the events of the previous night flashed through my head as I walked towards the back porch of the house, and the door to the kitchen. As I entered I saw that the crowd in the kitchen, still drinking coffee thought it was indeed well past noon, was overall somewhat more animated than the few stragglers that I had seen outside. In fact the conversation taking place there at the kitchen table although solemn, was intense, and not lighthearted at all. My wife who was leaning against a counter, gave me the “Glare” as I walked in, and started to shuffle around looking for some coffee. I shot back the “What?” look and proceeded to start avoiding her, ( an art that I was well practiced at.) She cornered me and handed me a copy of the letter from the band, by now I gathered that the conversation at the table was also about the letter. As I glanced at the letter, I still had not at that point connected that the letter concerned the “Riot,” and that people were packing up because the nights show had been canceled. Instead I was becoming aware that it was not just my wife, but everyone in that room, that had put me on the witness stand when I entered, and it was now up to me to justify how it was that I could drink alcohol and still live with myself, (this in spite of the fact that everyone in that room had been drinking at the show....just not ever...as much as I had.) My friends started, all together, all at once, to interrogate me. “Where had I been during the riot? What did I have to say for myself? Was I happy about the outcome?” I replied with what was after all the truth, that during the actual riot I was passed out, to no avail. It appeared that since there was no one here present that had engaged in the actual riot, that I was to be the scape goat. A position that I acquired because I certainly was the biggest drunk in the bunch, and this crowd was out for blood.
When the smoke has cleared she said......Gonna want a bed to lay your head,
and a little sympathy
Without a doubt this was an interesting turn of events; The idea that people drank, smoked, and got high, and then after all that they got out of hand....What will they think of next! Denial...that's what! Denial and self-righteousness. Not I....I did what any professional drunk would have done sitting in the spot I was in....I confessed. Sure I thought I was passed out during the “Riot,” but more-than-likely I was blacked out and staggering around with all the other goonyheads tearing down fences. It was a quiet long ride home, but it was over, (like all things,) soon enough. By the afternoon of the 5th my wife was packed up, and on the road again.
Going down the road feeling bad.................
May be the last time......I don't know.....
I must confess at this point, some 17 years later, that I don’t recall the road trip up to Chicago at all. Or really for that matter if we went on Friday or Saturday. I'm certain that I had spent all the time my wife was in St. Louis drinking, without the aid of LSD to help me maintain some sorta memory. The point that my memory kicks in is once again wandering around the parking lot, having surrender my ticket to some lucky soul, a new found friend of my wife's, that was a whole lot more stoned than drunk. I have one really clear memory from the Saturday show, and one from the Sunday show. I recall on Saturday that the perfect weather had continued all week, and as I sat there in the parking lot partying with some new found friends, the sun going down, and the band playing off in the distance, I looked up and took in the scene. And it's one of those memories that is like a snap-shot frozen in time. I don't recall what we were drinking, smoking, talking about, or anything at all about those people. I just have this image that we were sitting on the ground under some shade trees at the very, desolate even, edge of the parking lot and there was the stadium,intensely glowing in the light of the setting sun, somehow and strangely larger than life, for reasons that were not clear to me till much later. And that is about all that I remember about Chicago, stumbling around the parking lot, going from bar to bar in the neighborhood surrounding Solider Field, wondering how soon it would all end. What end? The Dead, this life on the road, my marriage, my life....
It all rolls into one......
My memory from the Sunday show was just a prophetic, but on a wholly more personal level. I recall that once again the show had started without me and I was stumbling around in the scene outside. But this was in some kind of area that was under the seats, inside the stadium sorta, of but still outside of where one needed a ticket. What I'm trying to get across is that the space was some kind of neutral zone; not inside,but not out. Not lit real well, but far from dark. I was drunk, but numb, from being drunk for so long that I could not drink anymore, so while I was not sober either, and a long way off, that was the direction that I was headed. I wasn't on the bus, but I sure wasn’t off. So there all these “ official,” vendors set up there, including a table maned by a group from the Wharf Rats a group of Dead Heads dedicated to experiencing the Dead sober. So there I am preaching to them, and thinking that I was, no doubt, both intelligent and smooth, and I'm sure they're looking at me like I've been smoked on down to nothing, broke apart, rerolled, and smoked again. And as I recall I was telling them that they were no doubt right where they should be, and that I would be joining them some day soon, prophetic in how soon that someday turned out to be.
All of us can recite just where we were and what we were doing during those life shattering events, personal or collective. Utter shock, or awe You know the JFK assassination or 911 moments. The first day of school, the first kiss, a moment of true discovery and surprise. A return to some unknown, and undefined, collective and primeval response that we can only classify by saying that it;” Spoke to my soul.” As if anyone uttering those words has any idea as to what they have just witnessed, felt, or expressed.
Through all the broken dreams and vanished years.....when you hear that song crying
like the wind. It all rolls into one and nothing comes for free, all this life is but a dream
Dust off those rusty strings just one more time.........and make them shine.
Every Deadhead ever in any time or place if they still have, or ever did, have enough brain cells to recall anything else, recalls exactly where they were when they heard the news that Jerry had passed. I was at work on a very large house that my company had been doing the masonry work on, off and on for three years. It was a very hot early August day, about mid morning. I was carrying bricks down a flight of stairs into the walk-out basement, which was totally open on the southwest side, allowing a stale hot breeze to blow into the open parched area. A radio from somewhere in that chaos was playing a very loud, but unforgettably bad, hard rock station. The DJ broke in and in a very sober, and dispassionate voice, broke the news that Jerry had been found dead of an apparent heart attack very early that morning at a drug rehab facility in Forrest Knolls California. Some studio Dead came on the air, and I staggered outside, I felt like I was going to vomit. I made it to my truck and began to drive around aimlessly.
Fare thee well. Fare thee well, I love you more than words can tell.
Listen to the river sing sweet songs to rock your soul.
For all of us, all my close friends, and in a wider sense all true Dead heads everywhere, this was indeed bittersweet. We all knew it was coming, knew to our very souls that it could not be avoided, and was in some twisted fateful way even necessary. Necessary for our collective lives to move past the habit that life on the road following the dead had evolved into. Yet I really did not know how I could live without that very same habit. And I'm certain I was in no way alone with those sediments. Make me good lord....But not yet.
And so now some 17 years later, much older, wiser, and with a much clearer mind, (it being 17 years since I've had any mind alternating substances,) it is quite simply impossible to put into words just what the dead experience was all about. Yes everyone has their own personal meaning, but there was, and is, an all over-riding collective experience. The closest word to describe the nature of that experi-ence would be, not anarchy as some would believe, but instead total freedom. Freedom itself is a theological concept, a totally nebulous, and unclear one at that. But almost all theologians agree on one basic point in any theory concerning the concept, that being; It is not possible in this incarnation, in this body made of flesh and blood. The mind of man will forever dream of, and desire, a state that cannot exist on this side of the veil. After the fall. And that is just plain a pity, cause coming as close to it as most of us came with the Dead was like a glimpse into a whole other possibility of what life could be.
Midnight on a carousel ride,
Reaching for the gold ring deep down inside,
Never could reach it.............But I try.
Baby who's to say it could have been different now that it's done
Baby who's to say it should have been anyway
Baby who's to say it even matters in the long run
Give it just a minute and it'll blow away
Like a feather in the wind
Just as sure as the world spins
It will blow away
Subject: death threat....?.....really?
Subject: Gate Crashers Suck
Subject: "." Nonintuitive
Subject: Ballin too much Jack?
Subject: my first concert
i was bubbling over with enjoyment to be able to see the band that had changed my hole outlook on the musical aspect of my life. my favorite song at the time happened to be here comes sunshine. the mixture of the mushrooms and the beautiful young lady spinning in front of me was the most nostalgic moment of my life to this day.
i had lawn seats 3rd row from the fence. when it was crashed so did i.one after another, drunken assholes stormed in. the music changed almost instantly,the pretty young girl spinning had stopped. gate crashers suck, fuck you fucking mother fuckers. i was cheering alright. i was cheering no more. this isn't how it was supposed to be, its not what i was taught. oh well right, so to all you crashers out there i want you to know that the first 4 songs of that show was something that you can never have and, you do suck and you probably always will because you just don't get it do you. i hope some day you will
Subject: Was at this show...Fire?
Subject: no title
Let me finish by saying this. I would not change the time I spent with the Dead,I appreciate what they showed and taught me about alot of things. I will always remember the Deer Creeks, the Red Rocks, The Alpine Valley's etc... but I regret not being able to guide more younger heads so that this event would have never happened. There is a void now, although inevitable, that is very difficult to fill. God Bless all of us. Take care
Subject: Mbodella is an A-hole!
Well FUCK YOU A-HOLE!. Your one of the reasons the next show was cancelled. The only good thing about the end of seeing shows was not having to deal with a-holes like yourself! And the band agreed.
The rating is for Mbodella, NOT THE SHOW, and his a-hole buddies. Now go back down to Mommy's basemet and get high in your room!
Subject: Fare Thee Well!
So everyone within driving distance(which for a dead show was many hundreds of miles around) showed up anyway to have a good time at the parking lot and hopefully get miracled into the show. Hell why not! It was the place to be!
Traffic was the worst I have ever seen. Dusty country roads backed up for about 5-10 miles in every direction all cars pointed toward Deer Creek Ampitheater, way out in a sea of cornfields. It was like the field of dreams. And boy did they come. We left from Pine Lake Campground at about 9 AM and arrived at the lot about 420 in the afternoon. This means we averaged about 1 mile an hour. We should have just walked the 10 miles.
Obviously with this oversized and growing crowd the authorities were very on edge. The DEA and the FBI had been cracking down hard on the Dead Lots and I think they were looking for a big showdown at Deer Creek to put an end to this counter culture that was growing out of control. And as they wished, everything that had been building up just bubbled over at Deer Creek.
I was in the show as I said when people started to point in the opposite direction from the stage. I was having such a good time that I think I was completely oblivious to what was going on for several minutes. I was too focused on the show. It was not until the helicopter hovered in with it's spotlight and we heard the deafening WaWaWaWa echoing and reverbing through the microphones and throughout the man-made ampitheater that I saw what was going on.
I saw the clouds of tear gas wafting over the fence with swarms of stoked and choking hippies. I stood in amazement and disbelief for a moment and went back to enjoying the show more energized than ever. The whole crowd was electric. The band was obviously not amused and thier perfomance reflected it!
From my perspective and speaking with witnesses on both sides of the gate, jiveafro's acount is very accurate and I appreciate his honesty. However I am not condoning anything that happened that day. Just saying I was there and I get it! When we left the concert and saw the aftermath of what had happened, I as well as most others was in complete shock and disbelief. It was like a fuckin war zone! From the inside we had no idea of what had really happened till we saw the aftermath! We did feel guilty for cheering them on, but at the same time were angered by the tales of police brutality and it kind of just made sense how it all went down.
What happened was there was a gross shortage of tickets for a show that was to be the hottest on the summer tour. There was a growing sense of tension in the area because the the Anderson and Noble county police were notorious Dead Haters. Lets not forget that factor!
When the oversized restless crowd outside stoned, drunk, and trippin balls saw one of thier own being mawled by K-9's there was just an instant mob mentality reaction. Really I think there is not any one person to blame accept maybe the first idiot who charged for the gate. It was the whole situation of the middle nineties. It was where we were. Yes I cheered for the gate crashers as they came over, but soon there after I became aware of the scope of what had happened. When I saw it on CNN I could not believe it. I was very ashamed of the mid-western trouble maker hippies.
The fact of the matter is that is it also had much to do with the changing balance of the music scene that was occuring at the time. Music was moving into a more violent and agressive form. Take for instance the difference between the line ups at Woodstock 94 and 99. I was at both. Woodstock 94 was amazing, even though half the people crashed the fences(which were a chain link joke) and had no ticket, everyone was peace and love! A short 4 years later at Woodstock 99 was the final turning point for me. It was hearing reports of girls being raped in the mosh pits that we quickly got the hell out of there early on the second day! I think it was at that moment when I realised that things would never be the same.
So I think as much as we should discourage future gate crashers I think that we should keep things in perspective, perhaps not be too quick to judge those who were involved on this magical summer night. They were just caught up in the moment as we all were and just really wanted more than anything to see the show. (If anyone is to blame it is the Dead for being so awesome) It was just the culmination of many converging realities. It was very sad and unfortunate the outcome, but I agree that no one was cursing the gate crashers until the following show was canceled! I and many friends had tickets to the second night and experienced this pain and reality check! It was to be my best friends 1st show and he never got to see the Dead because of this! So lets try to keep a good perspective on our history!
Subject: You Killed the Scene, Geniuses
I quit going to shows when I had to constantly fight with other heads sitting in my seats or being rude because "Hey, it's a Dead show, mellow out man!" I left Saratoga in '88 in the middle of the show because of my disgust over out of control gate crashing. When the band you're supposedly a fan of asks you time and time again to stay home if you don't have a ticket, and you ignore them, you're an idiot.
Sneaking into a show was harmless fun at the Fillmore East, when shows were small and 15 people did it. When you're exponentially multiplying that and the number of crashers turns into hundreds or thousands, you're not having harmless fun, you're a selfish group of assholes.
I'm happy there are people who won't aplogize for tearing the place apart at this show, but like it or not, you're a dick.
Subject: My Last Chance???
Subject: Speedway Blues
Thur. July 6, 1995
Long time no hear Kymmer. Howya doin----------good I hope. Well to fill you all in, my daughter Ashley just turned two. I couldn’t believe it. Susan and Ashley are both doing great. Susan is three months pregnant, and we are both thrilled. Except when the hormones start flying that is. A couple weeks ago she started spotting a little. This was alarming, but the doctor and Susan both heard the heartbeat the day before, so he wasn’t too concerned. After a couple days it stopped anyway. If it’s a boy (which I hope) I think we’ll name him Aaron Thomas. If it’s a girl we’re toying with Jordan Marie. I won’t be disappointed though if it’s a girl because Ashley is my little angel. That’s not to say she can’t be a devil also, can’t we all. For the most part I’m enjoying life.
A couple months back I heard The Dead were playing Deer Creek. I went to last years show and it was awesome. Its out in the middle of nowhere in cornfield county U.S.A. Its in Noblesville, Indiana above Indianapolis. Anyway, its one of the most beautiful little amphitheatres I’ve ever seen. Its tucked into a hill literally with cornfields and old cemeteries and big old trees everywhere with a sparkling stream going right through the center of it. I knew right away that I had to be there. Last year a friend of mine got the tickets by waiting in line an hour and he lucked out and scored. This time I procrastinated instead of mail-in, I went to Indiana to get tickets for me and my bro Tom. I heard by going over the bridge you can get a jump on tickets by an hour. Anyway to make a long story shorter, it sold out in fifteen minutes and I was screwed cause I got there fifteen minutes too late. I didn’t give up though, I took the shaft by going to an agency ( two ticks-- $150.00). But I was in baby! Part of the beauty of Deer Creek is that its so small (30,000). They were set to play on July 2nd and 3rd. We had tickets for the 2nd.
It takes about two hours to get there from here. So we borrowed my dads car, a Crown Victoria to go in style. It looks like an unmarked cop car. We left Louisville Sunday at 1p.m. and beat it on down the line. We had plenty of beer and both of us had some killer smoke. We burned about five on the way up. Cars were backed up past the exit and it took a little over an hour to park. Lots of people. We partied it up for a while and then we went walking through shakedown. I bought some well needed tye-dies for Susan, Ashley, and myself. Tom found some shrooms (what a shocker) and we split them, but I don’t think there was enough because I only had a vague feeling in the peripheral part of my vision. Just as well I guess. So then we ate something and went back to the car and partied some more.
It was an unusual day of itself because for the last month its been miserably humid and hot, and on Sunday a sharp cold front moved in and it was crisp, cool, and clear. I wore shorts anyway. We went in around six and it started around seven. We sat in the grass about fifty feet fifty feet directly behind the mikes. I can’t even remember what they opened with, but they were great. It felt right on to be there. Scarlet-Fire and Attics of My Mind stand out. I watched the quarter moon set in blood red along with the sun. I thought it was breathtaking and I wondered that I was the only one who noticed it with my binoculars. They were into the first set about a half hour.
All of a sudden in the middle of the song, the crowd started cheering over to my left. So I looked. To my astonishment a small trickle of people started coming over a ten foot high wood security fence. They soon swelled to hundreds, and then thousands. I’m totally serious, it was wave after wave of people not unlike a military assault. I began to get scared because I was now by myself, having been separated from Tom. You could see the place visibly filling up to a combustible size. This was not good. Soon the fence did not look like a fence by any means at all. It had big gaping holes now showing. I decided to concentrate on the visuals and watched them jam because I didn’t think this could last too long. Bob was wearing a black tank top with some funky striped shorts. Jerry was also in gray shorts with an extra large purple t-shirt. Phil dressed for the weather with a long sleeved white shirt and long beige pants. I think Mickey was also in long sleeves. Bill was in short sleeves and Vince was wearing some kind of tapestry shirt. Too detailed?, sorry. Oh, I forgot to mention that this was a Rex Foundation benefit concert. Anyway, they finished the song and left stage and I thought that was it. Soon you could hear sirens and see flashing lights on the way. Next thing I hear is “can you smell the tear gas”, and I could smell something faintly. I couldn’t really tell what was going on outside and I really didn’t want to know. About an hour or what seemed that long they returned, which blew my mind. Except it just wasn’t quite the same. Everyone at this point were mellowed almost like a child who got caught doing something wrong. The Grateful Dead did not look none too happy either. It was a good jam but not the barn burner of last year.
After the encore, I stood there for a few minutes and then I figured since there is a big gaping hole where the fence was I’d go that way with everyone else. I thought all of it was a big mistake at the time. When I walked through, I was greeted with an arsenal of riot police intact with dogs. I kind of slithered by them nonchalantly and somehow made my way back to the car. They estimate that 3 to 4000 made it in without tickets. The next day when I heard it on the news, it said that many pelted cops with rocks and bottles. Rioting, the unbeatable high eh? Something that I noticed also when leaving was that I sensed a great amount of fear on the part of the police. Tom finally made it back to the car where we heard that part of the root of the problem was that many were selling counterfeit tickets. It seem extremely cold at this point so we got in the car and tried to leave. Good luck. It was three a.m. when I finally reached the main highway and six a.m. when I hit my driveway. The big blood red sun was coming up amongst dark purple clouds when it seemed to have just set.
After sleeping for most of the day, I felt even weirder. Later, when walking my dog Lady with Susan and Ashley, I saw a deadhead I know on the next street. He told me he also was at the show the previous night. They were camping near the amphitheatre at 2 a.m. when they heard on the radio that the next show was cancelled, which they had tickets to. Bummer and Ouch! He was packing to go to St. Louise for their next shows. I hit him up for last years show on tape which he had and gave me to make a copy. I have two extra tapes so I’m enclosing two of the three tapes from the show I was at last year. Its crackling with energy, and I’m on it somewhere, though not so prominently as I was on my own shitty tapes. I know its better that way for sure. If you enjoy them, send me some tapes and I’ll make you some more from my collection including that last one of the bunch. Also I’m sending you some pictures of various bizarre scenes.
Tell Jeff and everybody else I said high. Sorry to ramble but I had to once the tale was told, cause I’m livin’ in yesterday’s tomorrows. Fare thee well!
Yer bro Phish
P.S. I think I’ll sue that band Phish.
P.S.S. When are you guys going to visit me? Ya all have a home in Louisville, Ky.
P.S.S.S. I heard on the news this morning that another misshap occurred in St. Louise last night. A storm forced a bunch of deadheads into some sort of lodge that collapsed. A hundred people were injured. Tonights show is supposed to go on. The Dead have never cancelled a show before for violence in the history of the band. Kinda fucking sucks that I witnessed that little bit of history in the making.
P.S.S.S.S. Tell Nancy and your Mom I said hi too.
Subject: y poor Deer Creek
Jerry is playing really badly here,(he doesn't even seem to know that Victim is over and "All too much" has begun by the sound of his flailing)engendered by a heroin habit and death threat which I read later did shake him. I can hear the band rallying at times but they must have been so depressed. Wonder if they knew the jig was up.
Subject: Gate crashers see more shows
Subject: I was there... from a gate crashers point of view.
Two days later I was sitting in a crowd of thousands of people who also must have gotten confused about ticket purchase as we were all outside the show hoping to hear a few wisps of the music we all loved so much. Even thought there were so many people we had gotten a good spot in the front closest to the outside of the venue. I was there with my good friend Shane H. We were stoked to even be there. The show started and I settled down upon my blanket. The Grateful Dead had only played a couple of tunes and the vibe was good. People were dancing and smiling. As I looked on towards the hill that hid the show from non paying eyes and listened to the tunes float about on the wind, I watched as one young man ran up the hill in a weak attempt to distract the two guards that were there to stop thousands of people from walking up the hill to hear the music a little better, It was scary because we all watched as he ran in a desperate and lonely stride. He made it about half way to the fence before both security officers and their attack dogs (totally necessary) caught up with the unlucky individual. He was mauled. There had been talk all day of a rush on the gates but no hippie within a thousand miles could have seen what was to happen next. At the very moment that he was tackled people started to stand up and look on in shock and awe and then with one fail swoop arms went up as if in protest. There was the general shock of seeing someone taken down by German shepherds. Then there was a brief moment of silence which couldn't have lasted more than a second and then all around cries of "Go now!" were heard across the grassy plain. I looked behind me and saw the remaining masses of people standing up and I grabbed my stuff for fear of losing it. Everyone started to run and I was no different. I started running away from the crowd, which just happened to point me in the direction of the venue. I was running for my life. As I ran up that hill the first thing I noticed was that it was a lot steeper than it looked, and the second thing I noticed was how tall that fence was as it approached. I couldn't look back for fear that I would lose my momentum and fall back down the hill where I knew that the police were probably already moving in. I was oblivious to what actually was occurring behind me. I was just trying to avoid a bad scene that I was in the middle of. As I approached the fence it got even taller and by the time I reached it, it seemed to loom completely out of reach. I thought about going back. I looked behind me just once and there was some right behind me. My mind raced. My adrenalin was coursing though my blood stream. I made a leap, put one foot on the fence, one hand on top of it and I was in the show without damaging anything.
When I jumped over that fence and landed on the freshly trimmed greenery of the lawn I was immediately greeted with smiles and hugs. The look in the people's eyes when they saw me was one of amazement. I guess I was one of the first heads to pop over the fence that night, which might leave the blame on me but as you can see I had little choice. For the first time I had realized what happened. I was in the show. You better believe that my smile grew across my face faster than you can say Jerry. I didn't feel bad. I felt good. I began my trek down through the lawn when I realized that I had a little bit of the good old green and a small pipe to smoke it with in my pocket. I started smoking with anyone who would take it and at a Dead show that is almost everybody. Everyone smiled upon my tale of the hill and the fence. People were genuinely happy with my situation. I had lost my friends but was at a show I felt like I deserved to be at. The feeling of euphoria would slowly wane throughout the show as we watched the fence come down one board at a time. It was a great show. They played everything I wanted to hear. Later did I come to find out the real meaning behind New Speedway Boogie was that it was a bad scene and Then even Mighty Quinn was about the monkey see monkey do mentality. All throughout the rest of the show it slowly got more and more packed until we could hardly dance. So many people had rushed in that the place was filled to capacity and the seams were busting. After the show it took us 45 minutes to get from the lawn to the front gate in a slow crawl inch by inch. Now you could really see the impact considering this walk usually took 10 minutes at the most. It was an amazing sight. Even after the show people were happy to hear that we had gotten in. I found out that my friend Shane had gotten in also. I talked to people and they didn't seem to be upset at the time. Everyone wanted to hear the story and most said that if they had been in closer they would have ran just as I did. It was sad that they tore down the fence. It was sad that they cancelled the last show. If you had tickets to the second show I am sorry but I couldn't have changed it. It happened. I had friends that had only those tickets and I felt bad. They got angry only after they heard that it was cancelled. Up to then they were happy people. I think that incident changed a lot of people's opinions. I watched as our group of friends slowly broke up after that. Some of which I still haven't talked to since. Some people say that that occasion was the beginning of the end for Jerry. Some say it pushed him over the edge. I still believe that his heroin addiction was the cause of his death and our addiction to the Dead helped kill the scene.
I don't meet many Deadheads anymore. I miss the scene. I miss the feeling of getting close to a show and seeing like-minded people in VW busses just living to enjoy life. I don't regret jumping over that fence that night at all. It just happened and in the history of happenings it is one I will not forget.
Subject: A theif is still a theif
Crashing the gates is neither beneficial for the Dead, for their business partners, nor for the fans. Everybody loses. Deer Creek decided they couldn't trust the fans for a second night. That's a loss. The Grateful Dead had to cancel a show. That's a loss. The fans who experienced joy by crashing the show lost the trust of everyone.
If the security employ attack dogs to keep the venue protected from going over capacity, then whose fault would it be if they jumped the fence and put themselves at risk of mauling by such dogs? Not the fault of the security.
I'm not saying security was perfect on that occasion, but the gate crashers defending their case to this day are ridiculous. Rather than justify their cause by declaring some measure of momentary joy, they should consider the important schooling in business that they missed out on. For those who hate business, they simply can't be trusted. As a friend said to me: "If you can't play the game, then there's no way in hell you'll be able to create a change."
That's all I can think to say at this time.
Subject: R.I.P. Deer Creek
Hey Viligant prayer-Your proud you snuck into the show?thanks asshole,because of dicks like you the second night of the best venue next to Cal-expo was cancelled...your a toilet.Go smoke a pickle asshole.
Death threat on Jerry and he played "Dire Wolf"
I don't remember who put it out. Joe Rider or something like that? In any case, it is an excellent document, albeit a very rare item to stumble across these days. I might have seen a copy sell for $100+ on eBay a couple years back.
Subject: Despite it all.
The begining had tons of energy.
'Dire Wolf' is always a treat in my book.
Post-Drums was pretty sweet to with a beautiful 'Attics' into a snarling version 'Sugar Magnolia' that really seem to (at least by my ears) have crowd and band rockin' alike. Better than early 90's to my ears in many ways.
'Scarlet' was also nice and so was the encore which almost always was a fun tune to play.
I guess in the end, 'everybody's gonna want a dose'.
1 star for me being pissed off at the dead at this point and the noodnicks who crashed the gates, and the fact Jer pulls the ripcord somewhere in the middle of FOTM
Subject: I was there
Subject: The real end
1995: Jerry had one foot in the grave, the band was out of gas and the whole Dead unviverse had decayed beyond recognition.
Subject: Funeral March
What a nice way to bow out.
Subject: End of a tense tour
My memory is somewhat fuzzy on this one, but I seem to remember it was at Deer Creek that one of the campground structures collapsed after several "yahoos" climbed upon it. Several people were hurt, if not killed as a result.
Many venues were threatening to ban the Dead from playing if the fans were to continue ignoring common sense and decent behaviour.
An unkind incident happened to me following a Las Vegas show. I was returning to my car with friends and noticed it had been surrounded by "Neo-Deadheads" inhaling copious amounts of nitrous oxide from balloons big enough to carry away a small animal. The large NO2 tank was perched next to my car where no fewer than 4 people had made themselves comfortable atop. When I politely asked them to dismount and locate a new area to party, I was rudely told "No!" and threatened to leave them alone. Their numbers (at least 15) outnumbered us (5), making a more assertive request risky. Waiting a while made them uncomfortable and they finally left on their own.
I can only imagine the band's relief in completing the tour after the hell it had become.
About the show, the band's concern is unmistakable during "Desolation Row". You can also hear the recognition in the cheering crowd of the significance of "Dire Wolf".
The thing that caught my attention was the band's response in Set 2 to the gate-crashing: "New Speedway Boogie", a tune inspired by a previous riot-spoiled concert - Altamont. "I saw things getting out of hand, I guess they always will." The band seems to be trying to communicate that "... this darkness got to give ..."
Hope we're listening ...
Subject: The Riot Show is Interesting!
Subject: Worthless, Goodbye Grateful Dead
A MUST NOT DL, sad sad sad is all I can say
Subject: Full of energy
Second set is also first rate, but the Fire does get caught in a small "Garcia in limbo" moment or two.
This recording is listenable, if not anything above average. Not much Phil on this one, but vocals and guitars sound decent, and the crowd blends in well. Considering everything, good show.
Subject: Another Look At the Riot Show
Subject: 10 years gone... thanks assholes.
It has been ten years to the day since this show, and all I can say is that those gate-crashing-assholes killed the Grateful Dead. I know the last "official" show was at Soldier Field but it really ended here.
Once again... Fuck You, You ignorant shameless disrespectful assholes. To quote the Grateful Dead, "Don't you get it?"
As far as the show posted here... I am not downloading it... to many bad feelings here.
ps-> sorry for the language and attitude.
Subject: Revised non PC review
Subject: Bad night
Hey Viligant prayer-Your proud you snuck into the show?thanks asshole,because of dicks like you the second night of the best venue next to Cal-expo was cancelled...your a toilet.Go smoke a pickles asshole.
Death threat on Jerry and he played "Dire Wolf"
Subject: The Music Stopped
Things were'nt to stay that way though. The extra was gone as they didn't know we needed it and couldn't find an exchange of days with anyone. Somethings in the air. Jim stayed at the van for a while after we went in but decided to head around back for a better sound. Found a good spot and kicked back and enjoyed the ride. That is until the gatecrashers and police showed up. Thankfully he didn't get beat up or arrested but it spoiled it all for him.
Meanwhile I was inside but seperated from my group. Not a big deal as the shows the thing. Suddenly people started comming over the fence. 1 or 2 here and there, up and down the fenceline.
Next they started coming through the fence. There's a helicopter circling over head. Can't get comfortable. Gotta walk it off. Hard to focus on the show. It sounds good, but kinda like they are afraid to really break loose and jam. Some of it seems rushed.
REALLY BAD VIBES!!
The show goes on. First Dead show I'm not enjoying myself. Where is everyone. Man I can't wait for this night to be over so we can see tomorrows show. It's GOT to be better than tonight.
NOPE! History. It's all over now. Will there BE any more? Only time will tell. I remember some grate songs even if I couldn't enjoy them then. Can't wait to get this show. Just thinking about it makes me shake and get nervous bad feelings, but I want to change those things. Only music can change your heart. Once I hear the show I'll change my rating to reflect this
Subject: for all you gatecrashing clowns
Dear Dead Heads:
This is the way it looks to us from the stage:
Your justly-renowned tolerance and compassion have set you up
to be used. At Deer Creek, we watched many of you cheer on and help a
thousand fools kick down the fence and break into the show. We can't play
music and watch plywood flying around endangering people. The security and
police whom those people endangered represent us, work for us -- think of
them as us. You can't expect mellow security if you're throwing things at
them. The saboteurs who did this can only do it if all Dead Heads allow them
to. Your reputation is at stake.
Don't you get it?
Over the past thirty years we've come up with the fewest
possible rules to make the difficult act of bringing tons of people together
work well -- and a few thousand so-called Dead Heads ignore those simple
rules and screw it up for you, us, and everybody. We've never before had to
cancel a show because of you. Think about it.
If you don't have a ticket, don't come. This is real. This
is first a music concert, not a free-for-all party. Secondly, don't vend.
Vending attracts people without tickets. Many of the people without tickets
have no responsibility or obligation to our scene. They don't give a shit.
They act like idiots. They think it's just a party to get as trashed as
possible at. We're all supposed to be about higher consciousness, not
It's up to you as Dead Heads to educate these people, and to
pressure them into acting like Dead Heads instead of maniacs. They can only
get away with this crap if you let them. The old slogan is true: if you're
not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.
Want to end the touring life of the Grateful Dead? Allow
bottle-throwing gate crashers to keep on thinking they're cool anarchists
instead of the creeps they are.
Want to continue it? Listen to the rules, and pressure others
to do so. A few more scenes like Sunday night, and we'll quite simply be
unable to play. The spirit of the Grateful Dead is at stake, and we'll do
what we have to do to protect it. And when you hear somebody say "Fuck you,
we'll do what we want," remember something.
That applies to us, too.
Billy Jerry Phil Mickey Bobby Vince
Anyone who showed up without a ticket or hung around trying to sneak in were THE problem.
Thanks for spoiling it.
Subject: Deer Creek
Subject: the story
Subject: Very Eerie
I was at this show and it was a surreal experience when all those people came over that fence. Somehow I knew (though I didn't admit it to myself at the time) that I was attending my final Grateful Dead show. Even beforehand the usual sense of expectancy and excitement wasn't there. I was merely doing a duty. I was going to say goodbye to an old friend.
For 1995, this is a pretty good show, and considering everything that was going on I think they held up well. In terms of all the shows I saw in my eleven years of touring though, I would say this was average. My first Dire Wolf in ten years was a real sweet treat. While the Here Come Sunshine of the 90's doesn't hold a candle to those of the 70's, I was still happy to catch my only version of this song.
Subject: Desolation Row
This turned out to be my last Dead show, as the next night was cancelled. I agree with a previos reviewer that it was a fine show.
Subject: Desolation Row
This turned out to be my last Dead show, as the next night was cancelled. I agree with a previos reviewer that it was a fine show.
Subject: Silver Lining
It was a really surreal night, and I wish it hadn't happened the way it did..... but all in all, it's a show that you should have in your collection.
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